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Earnings, Consumption and Lifecycle Choices

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  • Costas Meghir
  • Luigi Pistaferri

Abstract

We discuss recent developments in the literature that studies how the dynamics of earnings and wages affect consumption choices over the life cycle. We start by analyzing the theoretical impact of income changes on consumption - highlighting the role of persistence, information, size and insurability of changes in economic resources. We next examine the empirical contributions, distinguishing between papers that use only income data and those that use both income and consumption data. The latter do this for two purposes. First, one can make explicit assumptions about the structure of credit and insurance markets and identify the income process or the information set of the individuals. Second, one can assume that the income process or the amount of information that consumers have are known and tests the implications of the theory. In general there is an identification issue that is only recently being addressed, with better data or better "experiments". We conclude with a discussion of the literature that endogenize people's earnings and therefore change the nature of risk faced by households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15914.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Earnings, consumption and lifecycle choices , (with Luigi Pistaferri) Handbook of Labor Economics, Ashenfelter and Card eds., 2011
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15914

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  1. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "Precautionary Saving and the Marginal Propensity to Consume out of Permanent Income," NBER Working Papers 8233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Virginia Sanchez-Marcos & Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low, 2004. "Explaining Changes in Female Labour Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," 2004 Meeting Papers 492, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Altonji, Joseph G. & Martins, Ana Paula & Siow, Aloysius, 2002. "Dynamic factor models of consumption, hours and income," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 3-59, June.
  4. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2011. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2923-54, December.
  5. Lisa A. Cameron & Christopher Worswick, 2003. "The Labor Market as a Smoothing Device: Labor Supply Responses to Crop Loss," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 327-341, 05.
  6. Melvin Stephens, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 241-252, May.
  7. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2005. "Insurance within the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1054-1087, October.
  8. Dehejia, Rajeev & DeLeire, Thomas & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2007. "Insuring consumption and happiness through religious organizations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 259-279, February.
  9. Fatih Guvenen, 2006. "Learning your earning: are labor income shocks really very persistent?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Klara Sabirianova Peter & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2009. "Inequality and Volatility Moderation in Russia: Evidence from Micro-Level Panel Data on Consumption and Income," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0905, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Orazio P. Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2011. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models With Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1027-1068, 07.
  12. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2006. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," NBER Working Papers 12467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Primiceri, Giorgio E. & van Rens, Thijs, 2007. "Heterogeneous Life-Cycle Profiles, Income Risk and Consumption Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 3239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Working Paper Series 2005:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  15. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "How Much Consumption Insurance beyond Self-Insurance?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 53-87, October.
  16. Erich Battistin & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 2007. "Why is consumption more log normal than income? Gibrat's law revisited," IFS Working Papers W07/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Katja Kaufmann & Luigi Pistaferri, 2009. "Disentangling Insurance and Information in Intertemporal Consumption Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 387-92, May.
  18. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  19. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Thomas, Duncan & Beegle, Kathleen & Frankenberg, Elizabeth & Sikoki, Bondan & Strauss, John & Teruel, Graciela, 2004. "Education in a crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-85, June.
  21. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "An empirical investigation of labor income processes," IFS Working Papers W07/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  22. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
  23. Erich Battistin, 2002. "Errors in Survey Reports of Consumption Expenditures," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C4-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  24. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  25. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Agar Brugiavini, 1999. "Risk pooling, precautionary saving and consumption growth," IFS Working Papers W99/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  26. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael, 2000. "An empirical analysis of earnings dynamics among men in the PSID: 1968-1989," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 293-356, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Huggett, Mark & Kaplan, Greg, 2011. "Human capital values and returns: Bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 897-919, May.
  2. Gustavsson, Magnus, 2013. "Permanent versus Transitory Wage Differentials and the Inequality-Hours Hypothesis," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2013:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Mark Huggett & Greg Kaplan, 2012. "The Money Value of a Man," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-014, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen Jenkins & Peter Lambert, 2011. "Robert Moffitt and Peter Gottschalk’s 1995 paper ‘Trends in the covariance structure of earnings in the US: 1969–1987’," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 433-437, September.
  6. Moritz Kuhn & Mark Wright & Tom Krebs, 2012. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," 2012 Meeting Papers 159, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Gabriela Prelipcean & Mircea Boscoianu, 2014. "Stochastic Dynamic Model on the Consumption – Saving Decision for Adjusting Products and Services Supply According with Consumers` Attainability," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(35), pages 201, February.

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